Saturday, April 20, 2013

To the Parents of Sons: You've Been Given Dinosaur Eggs

The saga unfolding in Boston has been heartbreaking for many reasons, but it seems especially poignant for the parents of sons.

Photo courtesy of NBC News.

Martin Richard, an 8-year-old boy, was killed in the explosion. He was struck by one of the two blasts at the Boston Marathon because he was waiting to hug his dad after the race. It's hard to even process those words.

The suspects, meanwhile, are sons themselves — and not much beyond boyhood.

Like all boys, they had a father and a mother. I'm not going to explore their personalities or motivations here, but raising any boy is fraught with danger.

Men commit at least 90 percent of the heinous acts in the world, whether it's terrorism, murder, assault or rape.

For whatever reason, males tend to gravitate toward extremes. That pervades nearly every facet of life: Women are more likely to be depressed, but men are far more likely to kill themselves. Girls are generally more intelligent (according to some studies), but boys are more likely to either be geniuses or mentally retarded. Males often don't express their feelings, but when they do — buildings burn, people die and families are destroyed.

Men painted the Sistine Chapel and wrote the Ode the Joy. They also orchestrated the Holocaust and the Jonestown Massacre.

That's why I say that giving birth to a boy is the equivalent of getting a dinosaur egg.

It starts out small and fragile. But it will grow. And when it does, the result will be something amazing — but also a creature with inconceivably destructive power.

We all need to be aware of that.

Turning that egg into something positive may be the most important thing we do.